The Advantages Of Sensors
Using sensors means having the ability to make accurate, timely, constant measurements, therefore having a large amount of data available that can be processed to optimize processes, resources, and services. Sensors are the gateway to the Internet of Things, interconnected objects that exchange data with each other and with the surrounding environment: IoT which for the industry means preventing failures (predictive maintenance), increasing security, monitoring environments in real-time and processes, avoid energy waste, eliminate unscheduled downtime and increase production, be able to guarantee high standards of product and process quality.
The sensors allow not only to automate production phases but to build databases on the history of the measurements made. In IoT systems, sensors can be connected via wires or wireless networks. One of the most used is the one that uses LoRaWAN technology. The sensors constitute the “peripheral devices” (also called “End Nodes”), which communicate, in bidirectional mode, with concentrators (defined gateways) positioned in the environment to form the IoT LoRaWAN network.
The IoT LoRaWAN network collects data coming from peripheral devices. They are then sent to the network operator’s server to the cloud via a backhauling infrastructure, such as optical fiber. The network server manages the data and provides them to the application server to make them accessible to the end user via app or web. LoRaWAN technology has the advantage, compared to others that can also be used to connect sensors to a network, of using components with low energy consumption so that the batteries can reach over ten years.
Also Read: Sensors: What They Are And Types Of Sensors
The Applications Of Sensors In The Industry
The different types of sensors are applied in the industrial sector for other purposes. The most frequent uses are listed below. Motion and presence sensors are used to optimize industrial lighting systems, avoid energy waste and reduce costs; temperature sensors are used to detect micro-leaks of fluids, for non-invasive process controls and to ensure sterility and hygiene of production processes, also in terms of regulatory compliance.
Vision sensors are applied in “accepted-rejected” inspections, which identify anomalies in equipment, product, packaging, and shipment and help quality control. Optical sensors are used in monitoring pipelines, offshore platforms, power lines and wells; fiber optic sensors in civil construction monitoring. Capacitive sensors are used in calibrations and measuring and monitoring the level of fluids outside without contact.
Ultrasonic sensors are used for object detection or level measurement in harsh conditions, for the detection of anomalies in feed pans, in the assembly of automotive components, for label recognition and counting. Magnetic sensors are used for the safety of the systems, inserted in anti-infringement devices. Photoelectric sensors are used at intersections of trolleybus lines to check the direction of travel. Inductive sensors are used to detect the presence of seals in packaging remotely or to measure the thickness of rolls (e.g., in the textile industry) in motion.
Differences Between Sensors And Transducers
The sensor “senses” the variations of the quantity it has to measure and with which it interacts. For the definition in the International Vocabulary of Metrology, it should not change the “nature” of the measured quantity during the output phase. This, more appropriately, is the function of the transducer (from the Latin “transducer,” “to lead through,” therefore to transform).
The International Vocabulary of Science that deals with establishing the correct measurement procedures define it as a “measurement transducer,” or a “device, used in a measurement, which provides an output quantity that has a specified relationship with the quantity of entrance.” Equivalent, proportional quantities, but also information. In fact, in practice, the two words are used as synonyms and “detector.”